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The Next Food Network Star: Miami Up All Night

July 13, 2009 12:57 AM by Cindy Adams

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The five remainingNext Food Network Star contestants head to Miami for a hot and spicy night of cooking and cavorting at a dinner party on the beach!

But, before they get to party, theThe Next Food Network Starcontestantswere met by Ted Allen at the airport. Each contestant was assigned a restaurant in the terminal and had to cook a dish with the restaurant’s cuisine in only 30 minutes. The winner of this Next Food Network Star challenge their dish placed on the menu.

Jeffrey was assigned an Italian restaurant, Aero Nuova, so he cooked bruschetta with poached egg. He really opened up when presenting his dish and told the judges his life was without borders, which they loved.

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Michael was given a French restaurant, La Vie, and made shrimp and clams with bacon hollandaise sauce. Bacon is good on everything, but the judges thought his presentation was dull and the bacon an sauce was too heavy.

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Melissa got a Spanish restaurant called Piquillo. She made chicken a la plancha, and revealed she spoke Spanish before English because her mom went to college and she had a Spanish-speaking nanny. That was really cool!

Jamika got the restaurant Deep Blue, which serves sushi. She served seared tuna salad. Unfortunately, Jamika described her dish and than noted she made something light because on a flight, she doesn’t want to be running to the bathroom. Oops, TMI! The judges lost their appetite a little after that presentation.

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Debbie was assigned the restaurant 5ive Steak, an American steakhouse. The logical thing would have been to make steak, but Debbie made an Asian spinach salad! What? The judges were baffled as well.

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Overall, Michael’s dish and presentation were the worst, while Jeffrey’s was the best and wond the challenge.

The contestants finally boarded the plane and arrived at the Eden Roc Hotel in Miami. Jamika screamed and was so happy to be in hot and sunny Florida.

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Ted Allen greeted the contestants in the lobby, and told them they would be cooking for a cocktail party at one of Miami’s hottest night spots. They would work as one big team and had just 2 hours to create 2 hors d’oeurves and 1 signature team cocktail.

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Jeffrey won the airport challenge, so he could assign tasks to each contestant and choose what he wanted to do. Michael was assigned bartender, Jeffrey chose to host, Debbie was placed in charge of the kitchen, and Jamika and Melissa were to prepare and cook the bulk of the food.

The contestants arrived at Nikki Beach, an awesome hot spot on the sand!

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Jeffrey made a crab tostada and a Cuban bite with spicy sauce; Debbie made Passion fruit chicken on daikon and a Korean torta; Michael created a margarita salmon skewer and chili lime shrimp; Melissa made 3 hors d’oeurves, including chicken skewers, salmon shooters, and vegetable asada for the vegetarians in the crowd; and Jamika made shrimp with pineapple slaw and jerk chicken skewers.

The team drink was a spicy chili margarita, which the judges found less than spicy and weak.

The partygoers were ravenous and the food disappeared as soon as it came out of the kitchen. Bobby Flay said he was starving and went back to kitchen to scold the cooks and find out what was going on. Not good.

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Overall, Debbie’s food tasted the best, but that’s probably because she ignored her role in the kitchen and just worked on her own dishes leaving Melissa and Jamika to flounder.

During elimination things got heated. The judges were unhappy with the way the party went, since the partygoers had trouble getting food and were hungry.

Jeffrey was told his food had no heat and his crab dish had no flavor.

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Although Michael was working the crowd like the life of the party, he was not a favorite of the crowd. He was way too loud and annoying. The judges said his salmon was flavorless and he told themâ⬔againâ⬔that he didn’t like the camera!

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The partygoers loved Jamika, but the judges didn’t like it when she told them she couldn’t stay and talk to them because she had to mingle. A little rude, but it was so true because she was so busy. The judges found her jerk chicken had no heat, but her chicken with slaw was to die for!

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Melissa’s grilled dish was the best and she was applauded for thinking of the vegetarians. Go Melissa!

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